It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, what happens to us after we die will always be one of the great questions of life that no one can answer. However, there are many steps that people can do prepare for what happens to their property after they die such as drafting a well, but what if their death is unexpected? And not only unexpected but due to the negligence and recklessness of another individual? The emotional, mental, physical and financial burden can be overwhelming but through the guidance of an experienced wrongful death attorney, we can help you get through this difficult time in your life.
Understanding Wrongful Death
Wrongful death is different than common crimes like murder or manslaughters. These are considered intentional acts and charges are usually file in criminal court. Wrongful death is when a person dies as a result of a third party’s negligence. These types of cases are quite difficult to pursue as the victim is not able to discuss the circumstances that led to their untimely death. However, our experienced wrongful death lawyers will start an investigation, interview witnesses, and find out if filing a wrongful death lawsuit is applicable in your situation. We will make sure you receive a fair settlement from your loved one’s life insurance policy and in case that isn’t enough to help you live a comfortable life, we have the experience to litigate in court for our clients.
Examples of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Negligent/Reckless Driving– This occurs when a person dies due to a third party’s negligent, reckless or careless driving. Common examples include car accidents from running a red light, speeding, or distracted driving. Most of the time, the negligent third party’s insurance will pay what is called policy limits, however, this is sometimes not enough to get through the financial hardships that come with an unexpected death.
Failure To Maintain Safe Premises- Also known in the world of personal injury as slip and fall accidents, this occurs when the person responsible for a property fails to keep the aforementioned property safe. Common examples of property negligence include failure to fix handrails, wiring or failure to salt walkways to prevent ice. In most instances, homeowner’s insurance or premise liability insurance will offer a settlement for wrongful death claims. But this monetary amount does not always cover damages such as pain and suffering.
Medical Malpractice– As mentioned in our comprehensive medical malpractice section of our website, there are many types of medical malpractice cases that can lead to the wrongful death of a loved one including hospital negligence like anesthesia errors, surgical errors and birth injuries as well as misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis of medical conditions. While health insurance does help cover the cost of initial treatment and life insurance will provide some monetary relief, the combination still might not be as much as you are entitled to if you filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
Unsafe Products/Toxic Substance- Manufacturers of products that are manufactured incorrectly or distributors who do not provide warnings for products that could potentially be dangerous can be held liable for your loved one’s death. Additionally, these cases include pharmaceutical companies that release unsafe medication into the marketplace with due diligence and wrongful death due to long-term exposure to toxic chemicals like asbestos.
Filing A Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Surviving family members are entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Surviving family members include children, spouses or domestic partners. However, if there are no surviving members whoever is entitled to the deceased’s property as indicated in their will is applicable to file a wrongful death lawsuit. An example of this is the deceased’s parents, siblings, or step-children.
If you feel that your loved one died due to someone’s negligence or recklessness, it’s important to file a wrongful death suit quickly. According to the Code of Virginia section 8.01-244, the statute is limitations in Virginia is two years from the date of your loved one’s death. It’s also important to know that if your loved one was in the process of a personal injury lawsuit and those injuries are the reason for his death, surviving family members are entitled to take over the case as well as file an additional wrongful death lawsuit.
If our attorneys feel that there is a viable wrongful death case then you might be entitled to certain damages. There are two types of damages that can be awarded for a successful wrongful death suit: damages to the estate and damages to the surviving family. Damages to the estate will be a monetary amount that covers the losses from the funeral and burial, medical and hospital bills, and lost income (including future income that the deceased would have received). Damages to the surviving family members is another monetary amount that covers loss of financial support as well as pain and suffering.
Contact A Wrongful Death Attorney
Being a surviving family member the amount of responsibilities is tremendous and unexpectedly managing someone else’s finances can be daunting. The first step to ensuring a financially sound future is to contact one of our wrongful death attorneys. Together we will ensure that you get the compensation and damages that you deserve due to the unnatural passing of your loved one through the hands of someone else’s negligence and/or recklessness.